A new neighbourhood association is launching in the East End, inspired by one resident’s desire to encourage her neighbours to patronize businesses in her neighbourhood. Judging by the initial reaction from area residents, Kate Tennier is not alone in wanting to support and promote local business in the Gerrard and Woodbine area.
“I called this meeting and I thought 10 people were going to show up, and 60 did,” she said.
The Gerrard Woodbine Neighbourhood Association is launching the ‘I’m A Local’ initiative on June 9 with a neighbourhood celebration. The project entails area residents purchasing a $20 membership card, which entitles them to anything from discounts to ‘special treatment’ at local businesses between Bowmore in the west and Devon in the east. Funds generated by card sales will be funnelled back into the community in the form of street beautification projects and other local improvement ideas. Tennier, who has lived in the area for 16 years, described the card as “almost like a share in the neighbourhood.”
She said she had been seeing new business come into the area, and wanted to do her part to support it. With all the work being done by grassroots organizations in the East End, such as the Gerrard East Community Association and the Danforth East Community Association, she thought the time was right to start something in her own local area.
“It’s a wonderful little almost hidden gem. Instead of complaining or saying we need to bring some amazing big thing in here and change the neighbourhood, I’m saying we have resources right here, I just think they’re underused,” she said.
There are a total of 38 businesses on the stretch of Gerrard, and Tennier is hoping to get all of them involved. The support from the community has been strong since the first meeting as well, she said.
“There seems to be a really overwhelmingly positive response to this.”
The ‘I’m A Local’ launch on June 9 will run from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the Forward Baptist Church parking lot. The rain location will be the Naval Club. Local resident Mark Cheatley, whose family has lived in the area for 75 years, will lead two historical walking tours with East End historian (and Beach Metro News columnist) Gene Domagala, at 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. The Bread Boys will provide music, and there will be activities for children. For more information on the association, visit gerrardwoodbine.com.